Youth Counselling

I want to be away from my parents

I asked my mother to create an account for me on her Instagram. My exams were going on when my mother opened my account and saw that I had chatted with boys whom I never knew. I had stopped using Instagram much before my exams. Whenever I used Instagram, I showed it to my mother, and she told me that she really trusted me. But I don’t know why she started scolding me now for something. My father even told me that he’ll make me sit at home after Class X. My password might have leaked from my diary which I sometimes take to school. I explained this to my parents but they only scold me. Now no one talks to me at home. They have isolated me. I have now only one option — I want to be away from them.
Aafia (16) / Deoria

Dear Aafia,

You are feeling really alone and helpless that your family is unjustly blaming and isolating you. If your password was secure, then your parents are justified in being upset and worried to see that you have “chatted with boys” whom you “never knew were following” you on Instagram. The online world and social media are risky spaces. Your parents fear for your safety and would not move from trust to distrust without due reason.

However, if you are sure that someone had taken your password and accessed your account, I hope you have already changed your password or deleted your account for the present. If not, please insist on doing so. Henceforth, please do not ever write down passwords, anywhere. Create strong, secure passwords using a mix of alphabets, numbers and symbols in a way that you can remember. Here is an example (please do not use the same): 0iKn0wmpw@Igr@m20 — it looks garbled but it can read: Oh I know my password at Instagram in 2020.

Do set your profile to ‘Private’ if you haven’t already done so. Ensure that only known individuals are on your friends list. Your profile will indicate how many people are following you on Instagram and other sites. Most importantly, don’t get carried away by the freedom, interaction and attention that you receive on social media.

It would be good to acknowledge to your parents if you have made a mistake by exposing your password to theft. Emphasise that you have been responsible and disciplined in not using Instagram before exams. However, you’d like them to help you to learn more about how your favourite social media sites work so that you can stay safe. Speak factually and sincerely… they are hardly likely to refuse you.

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Nasreen Hashambhoy is a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Facilitator of training programmes for schools and corporates. Through a combination of coaching, counselling and facilitation techniques based on cognitive science and positive psychology, she helps clients achieve their true potential. She is the author of the series Values In Action published by Better Yourself Books.

Nasreen Hashambhoy

Nasreen Hashambhoy is a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Facilitator of training programmes for schools and corporates. Through a combination of coaching, counselling and facilitation techniques based on cognitive science and positive psychology, she helps clients achieve their true potential. She is the author of the series Values In Action published by Better Yourself Books.